Sometimes all you need from a book recommendation is a trusted word from a good friend who knows what you like. We would like to be the next best thing. While we may not be IRL friends, we’re internet friends at this point, and there’s nothing RUSSH Publishers love more than talking about books. Boiling things down in a top three is a daunting task for those who flip through the books faster than the new iPhone battery drains, but alas, we’re sharing our own here. From coming-of-age winners to philosophical musings on the very fabric of monogamy, these are the three best books each of RUSSH Publishers read this year.
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When Queenie, a 25-year-old British-Jamaican woman, finds herself on a “breakup” with her longtime boyfriend, she is faced with many questions that she must answer to move forward. As she navigates her post-breakup grief, she finds comfort in the arms of men who aren’t necessarily good for her, struggles with her purpose in a predominantly white workplace, and accepts questions about life. self-esteem, belonging and friendship. . Queenie shrewdly and humorously delves into the life of Messines in their mid-twenties, while articulating issues of race and colorism that are key for all readers. I read this book over the summer and it made me feel so attached and grateful for this period of life in all its complexity and mess, alongside the teaching moments for white people that Carty -Williams offers so generously in his prose.
Sex at dawnChristopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha
An investigation into the origins of monogamy and sexuality dating back to the time of Darwin. I read Sex at Dawn while working on an article for our 100th issue on the rise of consensual non-monogamy, and found this book essential to understanding the concept of monogamy and why we are so attached to it.
The wide, Caleb Azuma Nelson
A beautiful, poignant and cerebral love story that follows the entanglement of two black British artists – he a photographer and she a dancer – as they reflect on their integration into a city that is both diverse and exclusive. With words so lyrical and flowing you feel like you can swim in them, Open Water was one of those novels that makes you want to write and appreciate those who donate their words to the world.
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Love & VirtueDiana Reid
If you’re a Sally Rooney fan, this one’s for you. It follows the story of two young women who become friends at the residential college of a prestigious Australian university. Intellectually refreshing and complex, this isn’t your typical coming-of-age.
Rooted in feminism, sexuality, and social discovery, this is a novel I plan to read at least once a year.
Trick Mirror: Thoughts on Self-DelusionJia Tolentino
I’m very late to this party, but I’m about halfway through Tolentino’s nine-essay series, and I’ve already mentioned this book to nearly every one of my friends.
By discussing her own experiences and revelations on topics such as the internet’s social revolution and the female experience with society’s expectations of beauty, Tolentino offers a unique and thought-provoking perspective on the topics that plague women in the world. the modern world.
Where the Crawdads singDelia Owens
Even though I haven’t seen the movie yet, I can say that I loved this book. Following the story of Kya, a wild, barefoot “Marsh Girl,” it’s part murder mystery and part coming-of-age, while also providing an exquisite ode to the natural world.
Thought-provoking, wise and deeply moving, Owens’ novel reminds us that we are forever shaped by the child within us.
If you’re a loyal RUSSH reader, you’ll know that I, along with our digital writer Jasmine, talk a lot about this book. Sunbathing has marked me since I read it a few months ago. Set in Italy with the underlying theme of grief permeating the text, it takes the reader on an undulating journey about dealing with loss and the power of friendship to guide us through life’s ups and downs. It’s a debut novel that left me hungry for more that Isobel Beech might publish in the future.
The cost of laborNatalie Kon-yu
The idea of giving birth to a child is something I still don’t fully agree with. Take care of the child himself? A little manageable. The idea of wearing them for nine months in my body? In short, it terrifies me. In The Cost of Labor, Natalie Kon-yu unpacks the literal stress on a woman’s body throughout pregnancy, how the healthcare system in Australia can often undermine women’s agency over their own bodies during this time. and how the disproportionate share of childcare expected of a woman is often overlooked as normal and expected. Necessary reading for everyone, whether you are planning to be pregnant at some point in their life or not.
Notes on loveAnnie Lord
I like to read about love in all its forms. Happy stories are great, but raw, unfiltered, bare-bones accounts of real-life relationships are what I deeply resent. Annie Lord has that same talent, it seems all contemporary British female writers have to be incredibly candid and direct, with Notes on Heartbreak a vivid picture of a relationship ending unexpectedly, but gradually realizing that it was can – be for the best. Towards the second half of the book, there’s a page where Lord gets lyrical about what love really is, saying it’s “doing things even if they don’t notice” and “doing a fucking thing.” ‘huge business about their birthdays’ among other tasks. It’s a manifesto that I try to live up to in my own relationships, and that I’ve never read so succinctly.
Rationally, I know most of us won’t be going to Europe this year. We just went through a pandemic for Pete’s sake. But still, I have a huge fomo, so I turned to Isobel Beech’s debut novel for an escape. What I found in the pages is much more nourishing. It’s deeply contemplative, about death yes – the narrator recently lost her father to suicide – but also about social networks, influencers and feminism. It’s soft, introspective and sparse, reminding me of One Month in Siena by Hisham Matar.
the other half of youMichael Mohammed Ahmad
Mohammed is one of the most original voices in Australian literature today, and through the Sweatshop Literacy Movement, he nurtures new talent with equally unique perspectives. The Other Half of You is the third and final installment in his semi-autobiographical series, centered on Bani Adam. Torn between family and cultural expectations and his own desires, Bani must forge a new path, even if it means isolating his loved ones.
people personCandice Carty-Williams
After driving through Queenie while on vacation in Bali in 2019, I pre-ordered my copy of Candice Carty-Williams’ second novel as soon as I could after it was announced. People Person opens with the devious Cyril Pennington driving his golden Jeep through the streets of Brixton to pick up his five children – Dimple, Nikisha, Danny, Lizzie and Prynce – born to four different women. Carty-Williams sets the stage for Dimple’s story to shine through. She’s 30, has a violent ex, an influencing career in between, and like all her siblings, is riddled with abandonment issues from her absent father. If you liked Zadie Smith’s Swing Time, then this is the one for you.